Monica Hawkins, a candidate for Franklin County Common Pleas judge, is used to beating the odds. Raised in a blue-collar neighborhood on the South Side within a few blocks of low-income housing projects, young Monica was forced to grow up fast. While her single mother worked erratic shifts at a can-manufacturing factory, young Monica took care of her two younger brothers and performed many household chores.
After graduating Independence High School, Monica Hawkins earned an undergraduate degree from Ohio State University, the first person in her family to do so. She obtained a masters’ degree from the University of Dayton and in 2000 earned a law degree from Capital University. During her time at OSU, the light of her life – her son, Dionte Johnson – was born. Johnson would go on to be a starting fullback for Ohio State’s football team and is now a successful small businessman in the Short North and community leader.
After graduating Ohio State, Monica Hawkins worked for Franklin County Children Services for 23 years. She later joined the federal Public Defenders Office as an investigator assigned to death row cases. She represented the Children Services and its children in hundreds of cases before the county Juvenile and Domestic Relations courts. Her legal experience includes litigation, mediation, oral and written arguments, client advocacy and legal strategy. And Monica Hawkins’ commitment to young people and her community extends far beyond her work career.